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Rural residents happier, poll shows
The success of this year's Cornhusker football team isn't the only reason rural residents of Nebraska have to be happy this year. Less uncertainty about the economy has more residents of that state feeling more optimistic.
According to that state's Rural Poll, conducted by University of Nebraska ag economists, more rural Nebraskans feel they're better off now than they have been in the past. Half of those responding to the poll, sent to 6,500 households in 84 "non-metropolitan" counties last spring, say they're "better off this year than they were 5 years ago." That's up from 43% last year. Twenty-one percent responding say they are worse off than 5 years ago, down from last year's 28%, the all-time high.
Changing moods about the economy, namely the easing recession, and less uncertainty surrounding respondents' economic future are the main drivers behind the change, says Nebraska Rural Initiative sociologist Randy Cantrell in a University of Nebraska report.
"Uncertainty is the thing that really breeds unhappiness," he says. "On the other hand, once people understand what they have to deal with, they tend to come to terms with it and don't worry as much."